Chef Roberto Madero, Mastering Kitchen Experiments & Open-Fire Cooking

In People by Christina Silvestri

Chef Roberto Madero is an innovative and dynamic culinary figure in Mexico who is known for his unique approach to cooking and gastronomy. As a vital part of the team behind Matcha Mama, Tulum’s beloved smoothie and juice bar, and Pizza Papi, Tulum’s first vegan pizzeria, Madero has played a significant role in shaping the local food scene. His extensive culinary journey includes years of experience with Coqui Coqui, enriching his expertise and style.

Madero’s cooking style is distinctively characterized by his use of open fire in special locations, adding a rustic and authentic touch to his creations. He is widely recognized as the “king of kitchen experiments,” with a particular focus on growing ingredients and mastering the art of fermentation. Learn more about Chef Madero below!

Snippet from Deelum Video Production:
Tracks Of An Ancient Kingdom. Watch here!

Name: Roberto Madero

Instagram: @roberto.madero.t, @tatemado_

Most recent place I’ve traveled to is: Guatemala. I went to Antigua and Lago Atitlán, where I  had the opportunity to try something new and cooked on lava stones with heat coming from the Pacaya volcano. 

My favorite place I’ve visited: The Canadian Rockies for the “wow” factor. In both summer and winter, anywhere you look is mind-blowing. Also, Cayo Jutías in Cuba is a beautiful remote beach where I enjoyed grilled lobster that the fisherman just brought out of the sea, grilled it and served it sitting in the sand for just $1CUC. Parras, my hometown, is a little Valley oasis in the middle of the desert in northern Mexico. Indulging in the local wines, pecans, figs, dates, pomegranates and cheeses under the shade of a pecan tree is hard to beat. 

My top 3 bucket list destinations: 

1. Patagonia. Everything I’ve seen about it calls to me, especially the rustic lifestyle, the fire cooking and how the people seem to remain very authentic to their traditions, all with the most beautiful scenic backdrop   

2. Tokyo, or Japan as a whole, for all the food. Koji, miso, sake and all the ferments; the attention that is paid to details and processes, I find admirable.  

3. Hiking through the Himalayas in Nepal. 

A typical day in my life includes… A Nutty Monkey smoothie from Matcha Mama, exercise, cooking dinner at home, reading, listening to music and, at the moment, experimenting with ferments. 

Never… Give me a drink without ice, never pretend, never gossip.

Favorite Quote: “Stand a little out of my sun.” — Diogenes of Sinope to Alexander the Great. “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” — Hemmingway 

My pet peeve(s)… Overcooked steaks, unseasoned food, good places with poor customer experiences and no-shows. 

I draw inspiration from… Seeing or finding out about something I had no idea existed. I want to learn how it works, how can I do it? How can I make it my way? Also, working with or seeing talented people do their thing passionately and wholeheartedly. Life experiences. 

I separate myself from others in my field by…  I truly enjoy the process of creating things from scratch, going back to basics as much as possible. I become extremely methodic and scientific when I am learning and trying something. I identify and register variables, tweak them, observe results, record them, repeat and repeat. I learned this from working alongside the very talented people that helped to put together Pizza Papi. Dry aging our own plant-based cheeses, wild fermenting doughs and even growing our own koji to make miso for our sauces and amazake for our cocktails. 

My greatest career achievement thus far is…  Pizza Papi. Having most of my culinary experience surrounding meat. To be a part of a 100% plant-based pizzeria really broke the mold and blurred the lines. It was a great experience to flip the switch and find new flavors and new techniques. Seeing all the incredible things that our head chef could create from the most humble ingredients was truly inspiring. This was a major catalyst for me to continue to want to cross boundaries, to learn new things, to keep experimenting.

The project that I am most proud of is… Tatemado Fire Gatherings was a series of BBQ dinner parties I hosted in my house for guests and friends. I prepared a four-course meal over open fire and hosted 23 episodes in total. Fifteen strangers would come and sit around one big table with me and have dinner, drink wine and share stories. I am still in touch with many of the people I met through these asados. 

Biggest dream… To go back to basics. I would like to acquire an old olive farm somewhere close to the Mediterranean, grow a food forest and live off the land. Having a place to share it with guests that want to come and dine and stay with us. Also, thru-hiking the Great Himalaya Trail and the PCT.

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